Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Final Trip- The Return Home 2

Newgrange Neolithic Barrow

We met up with Roy and Inez and spent time with them catching up on family histories and events since their visit to us in Manukau just before we headed off on our Middle East adventures.

They took us to NewGrange Neolithic barrow to experience more of Ireland's ancient history. The tour was very informative and especially moving when the guide demonstrated the effect of the dawn sun coming through the entrance on the winter solstice. One could almost sense the awe our neolithic ancestors must have experienced as they huddled in the central cavern waiting for the dawn on a cold winter morning as the light edged its way along the entrance tunnel to finally settle in the centre of the room and then disappear as the sun moved above the barrow and away from the narrow window built to channel its light into the mound.
Joy at Newgrange

We left the Grange and headed off to County Fermanaugh to visit Sylvia and Kate in Enniskillen.
Kate, Joy & Sylvia at Enniskillen
We had last visited them back in 1998 when Joy and I had  made a flying trip to Ireland on our first sojourn in the UK. With this visit we added more detail to our shared family history and, from Sylvia's stock of photographs, added to the album and information we will share when, in January next year, we have a Bates family reunion in Wanganui which would mark off 90 years since my Grandparents bought the family to New Zealand.

A newspaper name to be proud of!
Enniskillen sits on a island between Upper and lower Lough Erne and is a Northern Ireland tourist centre. The town is dominated by the 15th century Enniskillen Castle with its museums for both the county and the Inniskilling Regiments. The town is also noted for the past pupils of Portora Royal School (1618) - Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde. We were told, with some glee, that when Wilde had been sentenced for homosexuality his name had been removed from the school honours board but then in more recent times been re-enstated. The brighter gold of the new lettering serving to accentuate his name and notoriety!

Joy and I explored the town and visited Castle Coole, a magnificent Neo-Classical house originally built as a summer residence for the first Earl of Belmore in the late 1790s. Apparently the building almost bankrupted him but, after his death, his son was able to both rescue the family finances and complete the house in the 1820s. In the 19th and early 20th centuries the house and property would have been bustling with servants and activity generated by vistors and tradesmen. Now, part of the estate is still the home of the Belmores while the bulk is administered by the National Trust and the bustle is generated by the tourists and locals picnicking and walking through the surrounding parklands.

Back in 1998 Joy and I had driven around the lough and visited Belleek, Boa Island and Devenish Island where St Molaise had established a monastry in the 6th century so, this time, we contented ourselves with exploring the town before moving on to Raphoe and Carnowen to both catch up with John and Joan Fulton and to add to our photograph collection of both family and the village where Mum had been born.

Carnowen School where Mum had once been a pupil.

No comments: